8 tablespoons ghee or oil
10 cm (4 inch) piece cinnamon stick
8 whole cardamon
4 cloves garlic, crushed
3,5 cm (1 1/2 inch) piece ginger, chopped
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
1 kg (2 lb) boned leg of lamb, cubed
2 x 150 g (5,2 oz) cartons natural yogurt
150 ml (1/4 pint) water
2 teaspoons salt
500 g (1 lb) Basmati rice, washed and soaked for 30 minuts
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads, soaked in 3 tablespoons boiling water
2 tablespoons ghee or oil
1 large onion, sliced
4 tablespoons flaked almonds
4 tablespoons sultanas
Heat 6 tablespoons of the ghee or oil in a large saucepan. Add the cinnamon, cardamon and cloves and fry for a few seconds, stirring. When the spices let out a strong aroma, stir in the garlic, ginger, fennel and chilli powder. Fry for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
Add the lamb and fry well on all sides. Stir in the yogurt a tablespoon at a time, allowing each spoonful to be absorbed before adding the next. Add the water and half the salt, cover and simmer for 40 minutes or until the lamb is tender.
Meanwhile, fill anothr large pan two thirds full with water and bring to the boil. Drain the rice and add to the pan with the remaining salt. Boil for 3 minutes, then drain.
Put the remaining ghee or oil in a large casserole, cover the base with rice and sprinkle with the saffron water, then cover with a layer of lamb. Repeat the layers, finishing with rice. Pour in any liquid from the lamb, cover closely with a foil-lined lid and cook in preheated moderately hot oven 190ºC (375ºF) for 20 to 30 minutes or until the rice is tender.
Meanwhile, prepare the garnish. Heat the ghee or oil in a small frying pan, add the onion and fry until golden. Remove from the pan and set aside. Add the almonds and sultanas to the pan and fry until the almonds are lightly coloured and the sultanas plump.
Transfer the biryani to a warmed serving dish and sprinkle with the onion, almonds and sultanas to serve.